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Alpha is a borough in Warren County, New Jersey, United States. As of the 2010 United States Census, the borough's population was 2,369, reflecting a decline of 113 (-4.6%) from the 2,482 counted in the 2000 Census, which had in turn declined by 48 (-1.9%) from the 2,530 counted in the 1990 Census.
Alpha was incorporated as a borough from portions of Pohatcong Township by an act of the New Jersey Legislature passed on June 26, 1911, and signed by Governor Woodrow Wilson, based on the results of a referendum held on May 31, 1911. The borough was named for the Alpha Cement Works.
The borough is one of the eastern-most locations within the Lehigh Valley region of Pennsylvania and New Jersey.
Formally known as Vulcanite, Alpha was incorporated on June 26, 1911, but its history can be traced back to a much earlier date. At the time of the Great Blizzard of 1888, there were only seven houses in what is now the corporate limits of Alpha. The exact date on which the first house in Alpha is uncertain. One of the first homes in the community was a two-room log cabin constructed by the Pursel family beside an old Indian Trail on the former property of the Vulcanite Portland Cement Company, now New Brunswick Avenue.
Less than two years after incorporating, the community obtained a continuation of the street car line from Phillipsburg and electric street lights were installed.
According to the United States Census Bureau, the borough had a total area of 1.698 square miles (4.397 km2), including 1.672 square miles (4.329 km2) of land and 0.026 square miles (0.068 km2) of water (1.54%).
Unincorporated communities, localities and place names located partially or completely within the borough include Vulcanite.
The borough is completely surrounded by Pohatcong Township, making it part of 21 pairs of "doughnut towns" in the state, where one municipality entirely surrounds another.
As of the 2010 United States Census, there were 2,369 people, 964 households, and 632.4 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,417.2 per square mile (547.2/km2). There were 1,032 housing units at an average density of 617.4 per square mile (238.4/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 93.12% (2,206) White, 2.41% (57) Black or African American, 0.00% (0) Native American, 1.52% (36) Asian, 0.00% (0) Pacific Islander, 1.18% (28) from other races, and 1.77% (42) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 5.28% (125) of the population.
There were 964 households out of which 29.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 47.5% were married couples living together, 12.8% had a female householder with no husband present, and 34.4% were non-families. 29.1% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.45 and the average family size was 3.03.
In the borough, the population was spread out with 22.7% under the age of 18, 7.8% from 18 to 24, 26.0% from 25 to 44, 27.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.6% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 40.6 years. For every 100 females there were 92.4 males. For every 100 females ages 18 and older there were 89.7 males.
The Census Bureau's 2006-2010 American Community Survey showed that (in 2010 inflation-adjusted dollars) median household income was $63,953 (with a margin of error of +/- $7,724) and the median family income was $73,929 (+/- $6,822). Males had a median income of $49,461 (+/- $3,100) versus $40,859 (+/- $5,262) for females. The per capita income for the borough was $28,567 (+/- $2,455). About 4.0% of families and 5.1% of the population were below the poverty line, including 9.8% of those under age 18 and 4.9% of those age 65 or over.
As of the 2000 United States Census there were 2,482 people, 989 households, and 688 families residing in the borough. The population density was 1,462.0 people per square mile (563.7/km2). There were 1,034 housing units at an average density of 609.1 per square mile (234.8/km2). The racial makeup of the borough was 97.06% White, 0.28% African American, 0.04% Native American, 1.21% Asian, 0.64% from other races, and 0.77% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1.89% of the population.
There were 989 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 54.6% were married couples living together, 11.0% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.4% were non-families. 26.9% of all households were made up of individuals and 13.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.05.
In the borough the population was spread out with 24.4% under the age of 18, 6.0% from 18 to 24, 31.3% from 25 to 44, 20.7% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 38 years. For every 100 females there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 90.1 males.
The median income for a household in the borough was $42,209, and the median income for a family was $45,435. Males had a median income of $39,957 versus $26,576 for females. The per capita income for the borough was $20,104. About 5.5% of families and 7.6% of the population were below the poverty line, including 14.1% of those under age 18 and 9.7% of those age 65 or over.
Alpha is governed under the Borough form of New Jersey municipal government. The governing body consists of a Mayor and a Borough Council comprising six council members, with all positions elected at-large on a partisan basis as part of the November general election. A Mayor is elected directly by the voters to a four-year term of office. The Borough Council consists of six members elected to serve three-year terms on a staggered basis, with two seats coming up for election each year in a three-year cycle. The Borough form of government used by Alpha, the most common system used in the state, is a "weak mayor / strong council" government in which council members act as the legislative body with the mayor presiding at meetings and voting only in the event of a tie. The mayor can veto ordinances subject to an override by a two-thirds majority vote of the council. The mayor makes committee and liaison assignments for council members, and most appointments are made by the mayor with the advice and consent of the council.
As of 2018, the Mayor of Alpha Borough is Republican Craig S. Dunwell, whose term of office ends December 31, 2019. Members of the Alpha Borough Council are Council President Peter Petinelli (R, 2020), Louis J. Cartabona (R, 2018; elected to serve an unexpired term), Tracy Grossman (D, 2020), Michael Schwar (R, 2019), Thomas E. Seiss (D, 2019) and Alan Singleton (2018; elected to serve an unexpired term).
Republican councilmember Jack Preiss and Democrat Kathleen Ronan, both serving terms ending in December 2018, resigned from office in September 2016. Preiss cited time conflicts with his work duties, while Ronan expressed her frustrations with working with the rest of the council. Louis Cartabona was chosen to fill the seat held by Preiss. In October, the council selected Jennifer Gable from a list of three nominees submitted by the Democratic municipal committee to fill Ronan's vacant seat. In the 2017 general election, Louis J. Cartabona and Alan Singleton were elected to serve the balance of the two unexpired terms of office.
Harry Zikas announced his resignation from office in September 2014, citing his acceptance of a job in Northern New Jersey. With Mayor Ed Hanics casting the tiebreaking vote, Tracy Grossman was selected in October 2014 to fill the remainder of Zikas's term of office.
In January 2014, the borough council selected Millard Rooks to fill the vacant seat expiring in December 2015 of Michael Savary, who had resigned after pleading guilty to disorderly tampering with public records.
Alpha is located in the 7th Congressional district and is part of New Jersey's 23rd state legislative district. Prior to the 2010 Census, Alpha had been part of the 5th Congressional District, a change made by the New Jersey Redistricting Commission that took effect in January 2013, based on the results of the November 2012 general elections.
New Jersey's Seventh Congressional District is represented by Leonard Lance (R, Clinton Township). New Jersey is represented in the United States Senate by Democrats Cory Booker (Newark, term ends 2021) and Bob Menendez (Paramus, 2019).
For the 2018–2019 session (Senate, General Assembly), the 23rd Legislative District of the New Jersey Legislature is represented in the State Senate by Michael J. Doherty (R, Washington Township, Warren County) and in the General Assembly by John DiMaio (R, Hackettstown) and Erik Peterson (R, Franklin Township, Hunterdon County). The Governor of New Jersey is Phil Murphy (D, Middletown Township). The Lieutenant Governor of New Jersey is Sheila Oliver (D, East Orange).
Warren County is governed by a Board of Chosen Freeholders whose three members are chosen at-large on a staggered basis in partisan elections with one seat coming up for election each year as part of the November general election. At an annual reorganization meeting held in the beginning of January, the board selects one of its members to serve as Freeholder Director and other as Deputy Director. As of 2014, Warren County's Freeholders are Freeholder Director Edward J. Smith (R, Asbury / Franklin Township, 2015), Freeholder Deputy Director Richard D. Gardner (R, Asbury / Franklin Township, 2014) and Freeholder Jason Sarnoski (R, Lopatcong Township, 2016). Constitutional officers elected on a countywide basis are County Clerk Patricia J. Kolb (Blairstown Township), Sheriff David Gallant (Blairstown Township) and Surrogate Kevin O'Neill (Hackettstown). The County Administrator, Steve Marvin, is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operation of the county and its departments.
As of March 23, 2011, there were a total of 1,441 registered voters in Alpha, of which 548 (38.0% vs. 21.5% countywide) were registered as Democrats, 296 (20.5% vs. 35.3%) were registered as Republicans and 596 (41.4% vs. 43.1%) were registered as Unaffiliated. There was one voter registered to another party. Among the borough's 2010 Census population, 60.8% (vs. 62.3% in Warren County) were registered to vote, including 78.7% of those ages 18 and over (vs. 81.5% countywide).
In the 2012 presidential election, Democrat Barack Obama received 497 votes (51.1% vs. 40.8% countywide), ahead of Republican Mitt Romney with 436 votes (44.8% vs. 56.0%) and other candidates with 25 votes (2.6% vs. 1.7%), among the 973 ballots cast by the borough's 1,457 registered voters, for a turnout of 66.8% (vs. 66.7% in Warren County). In the 2008 presidential election, Republican John McCain received 470 votes (47.7% vs. 55.2% countywide), ahead of Democrat Barack Obama with 464 votes (47.1% vs. 41.4%) and other candidates with 18 votes (1.8% vs. 1.6%), among the 985 ballots cast by the borough's 1,408 registered voters, for a turnout of 70.0% (vs. 73.4% in Warren County). In the 2004 presidential election, Republican George W. Bush received 510 votes (50.1% vs. 61.0% countywide), ahead of Democrat John Kerry with 489 votes (48.0% vs. 37.2%) and other candidates with 12 votes (1.2% vs. 1.3%), among the 1,018 ballots cast by the borough's 1,369 registered voters, for a turnout of 74.4% (vs. 76.3% in the whole county).
In the 2013 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 70.0% of the vote (442 cast), ahead of Democrat Barbara Buono with 26.9% (170 votes), and other candidates with 3.0% (19 votes), among the 651 ballots cast by the borough's 1,471 registered voters (20 ballots were spoiled), for a turnout of 44.3%. In the 2009 gubernatorial election, Republican Chris Christie received 334 votes (48.2% vs. 61.3% countywide), ahead of Democrat Jon Corzine with 251 votes (36.2% vs. 25.7%), Independent Chris Daggett with 64 votes (9.2% vs. 9.8%) and other candidates with 21 votes (3.0% vs. 1.5%), among the 693 ballots cast by the borough's 1,397 registered voters, yielding a 49.6% turnout (vs. 49.6% in the county).
Students in pre-kindergarten through eighth grade for public school attend the Alpha School District at Alpha School. As of the 2014-15 school year, the district and its one school had an enrollment of 320 students and 23.2 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.8:1.
Public school students in ninth through twelfth grades attend Phillipsburg High School in Phillipsburg, which serves students from Alpha as part of a sending/receiving relationship with the Phillipsburg School District. The high school also serves students from four other sending communities: Bloomsbury (in Hunterdon County), Greenwich Township, Lopatcong Township and Pohatcong Township. As of the 2015-16 school year, the high school had an enrollment of 1,637 students and 123.0 classroom teachers (on an FTE basis), for a student–teacher ratio of 13.3:1.
Students from the borough and from all of Warren County are eligible to attend Ridge and Valley Charter School in Blairstown (for grades K-8) or Warren County Technical School in Washington borough (for 9-12), with special education services provided by local districts supplemented throughout the county by the Warren County Special Services School District in Oxford Township (for PreK-12).
As of May 2010, the borough had a total of 21.40 miles (34.44 km) of roadways, of which 17.38 miles (27.97 km) were maintained by the municipality, 2.78 miles (4.47 km) by Warren County and 1.24 miles (2.00 km) by the New Jersey Turnpike Authority.
The main road that goes through is CR 519. Route 122 runs through briefly in the north.
While Interstate 78 passes through the southern portion of the borough, the closest access point is at US 22 in neighboring Pohatcong.
The Norfolk Southern Railway's Lehigh Line (formerly the mainline of the Lehigh Valley Railroad), runs through Alpha on its way to Phillipsburg, New Jersey.
People who were born in, residents of, or otherwise closely associated with Alpha include:
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